tv Hardball With Chris Matthews MSNBC July 30, 2010 5:00pm-6:00pm EDT
people and put a stop to it. just because it lets some people get rich. they can give money to politicians. it doesn't mean it's good for our country. that does it for us. i am dylan ratigan. up next is hardball. chuck todd filling in. let's play "hardball." good evening i'm chuck todd leading off for chris matthews. fireworks in the house. if you had any doubts we are not in a good ere rar of civility in washington, check out this explosion from democratic congressman anthony weiner. >> the gentleman is providing cover for his colleagues rather than doing the right thing. it's republicans wrapping their arms around republicans rather than doing the right thing on behalf of the heros. it is a shame. a shame. >> he was enraged at republicans
for what he says they were blocking a house bill to provide health care to 9/11 responders who got sick after working at ground zero. the criticism was aimed at republican who is said were blocking the bill, but did the democrats simply attempt to set up the minority party by play g ing proceed yurl games? we're going to talk to the man behind the rage, congressman weiner. also, as the gm bailout goes, so goes the obama presidency. it's been my view for some tame. today president obama paid what could be described as a check thumping visit to chrysler and gm plants to cheer what the president believes is evidence of the recent turnaround in the autoindustry. a lot of people didn't like the bailouts. most still don't. it's a four-letter word to many americans. we're going to dig into the president's contention that this bailwithout was necessary and worth it. plus are democrats beginning to close the gap on republicans? a lot of recent polling,
national and district by district has shown a small but ♪ able improvement for the democrats. and some of the party's senate candidates are in better shape than they've been in for a while. still, losing by two touchdowns or three points is still a loss. on this last weekday in july we're going to look ahead to the midterms. also will the gop be able to turn the 13 ethics charges against charlie rangel into 13 ethic charges against the democratic party? they're going to try. finally, the late-night comic's view of the president's appearance yesterday on "the view." we're going to start with new york democratic congressman anthony weiner. congressman, thank you for joining us. let's take a look at what happened. the point of the depate is a $7.4 billion bill that would extend and improve health care benefits for 9/11 first responders. democrats however employed a
proceedural move. that meant it required two-thirds vote for approval. the bill was defeated 255 to 159. just 12 republicans voted for the measure. here's what you said on the house floor during the debate yesterday. >> we see it in the united states senate every single day where members say we want amendments. we want debates. we want amendments but we're still a no. then we stand up and say if only we had a different process we would vote yes. you vote in something you believe in. if you believe it's the wrong thing you vote no. i will not yield. the gentleman will observe regular order. >> you're not in order. >> gentleman gets up and yells like he's going to intimidate people into believing he's right. he is wrong. the gentleman is wrong. the gentleman is providing cover for his colleagues rather than doing the right thing. it's republicans wrapping their arms around republicans rather than doing the right thing on
behalf of the heros. it is a shame! a shame. if you believe this is a bad idea to provide health care then vote no! but don't give me the cowardly view that oh if it was a different procedure. the gentleman will sit. the gentleman is correct in sitting. i will not. >> gentleman will suspend. >> i will not stand here and listen to my colleagues say oh only if i had different proceed your that allow us to stall, stall, stall and then vote no. instead of standing up and defending your colleagues to vote no, you should urge them to vote yes. something the gentleman has not done. >> congressman, first i want to start with the anger or, some may say theatrics. do you regret maybe pounding so much? it's one thing to be upset about what happened on the floor.
do you regret your tone or anything you said yesterday? or the yelling back and forth that took place? >> well, let me say this, chuck. in fairness, that clip should have been put in a little bit of context. i had spoken, as so many of my colleagues had on the democratic side of the aisle. we didn't make any reference to the republicans. we didn't make any reference to the politics of this. we talked about what should be focused on, which is the 9/11 responders who are sick and dying. over 900 have died from 9/11-related illnesses. right before i got up to spoke my colleague mr. king stood up who is a sponsor of the bill and spentd the entire statement ripping the democrats using statements like cowardly and lacking courage and making this about a process. that's what set me off. that's why i thought we needed to respond. frankly, the republicans have now as you know over the course of the last couple of years, this has been their strategy. they say we like the bill. but we don't like the way you're doing it. we don't like the style. we don't like the time.
how many pages you are using. that's what i was responding to. >> i want to talk about this process. this is what frustrates a lot of folks in middle america. independents angry at everybody right now. why congress has an 11% approval rating. they'll say on one hand when they find out you guys were going for this two-thirds majority. you could have allowed them to introduce an amendment which would have possibly tied it up. you guys were fearing the "poison pill" vote. they would have tided it to spending money -- i guess my point is the fear was on one hand you guys were worried they were going to pull a procedural trick. you see why everybody in the middle gets upset at congress. >> you're overthinking it. we needed 21 additional republicans. we needed 12. 21 additional republicans and this bill passes. the calendar is made for noncontroversial things. this is about as
noncontroversial as you're going to get in that we had 94% of a diverse democratic caucus vote for this. the only reason the republicans voted against this, and listen, some were there saying people die all the time. we can't provide care for everyone. there's people complaining about the pay for. peter king and others made this about politics. once they did, republicans retreated to their corner and wouldn't vote for this thing. you're overthinking the process. we had more than enough support if we only had 21 additional republicans. we only had 12 republicans vote for health care. that's mind boggling hard to believe. >> are you at all frustrated with your own democratic leadership who may have been able to find some sort of -- even it's not a middle ground -- a 2/3 ground that would have found the other 21, or you decided not to use the two-thirds move here. >> this is the republican tactic. we've seen it in the senate all the time. we had a small bill in the senate when every time the republicans said we want an
exchange to the bill, senator reid gave it to senator mcconnell. they said we're still against it. for nine years we have watched this tactic. first when they're in the majority. now in the minority. my constituents may say something different than your viewers do. i argued this about the politics, for example. too often people get tied in knots about procedural things. when that time came -- that's what angered me so much. >> let's talk about the pay for aspect. as you brought it up, there were some republicans that were upset about how this was getting paid for. is there any way there could have been wiggle room on this? finding another pot of money to do? or maybe making it so you extended the compensation fund, say to 2020 and then took a look at this again? >> well, if i thought it got us additional votes or less grand
standing or less maneuvering to try to defeat the thing, we're open to anything. we're going to come back. i'm not going to give up on this. this is nine years later. we have to provide health care for these people. this is not about me or peter king, a democrat or a republican. there's neighbors i have. i have a worker, an employee named ed who is coughing his lungs out because he was a 9/11 police officer. we're going to try to fix this. the problem here is every time we as democrats, we have so much fidelity to try to go through this process. every time we sit down we get burned. we saw it on the stimulus bill. we saw it on health care. we saw it on the senate every single day. last night we saw it on the house floor on 9/11 health. >> you've been very critical of the obama white house on this. do you feel they sometimes lack a party backbone? an ideological backbone? >> i'm fighting enough with republicans enough today. >> i'm not trying to debate you. >> but here's what i do think. i think sometimes as democrats we come into knife fights
carrying library books. sometimes what you've got to do is try to get the votes to pass the thing. make people stand up. we saw yesterday in an entire congressional delegation on the republican side, only 12 members who stood up for this concept. i worked my tail off with my democratic colleagues, just about all of us, we only lost four democrats in a diverse caucus. we have to realize the republicans are not going to deal with us. now, i'm still going to work every single day. peter king and i are having a rough patch in our relationship. i will admit that. however, we have to try to get this done. we're going to try every means we can. the republicans are the party of no. this time they seem to have hit a new low. >> library books to a knife fight. that's a new one. people will quote that a lot. >> don't steal it on me, chuck. >> it's all yours. >> congressman anthony weiner, thanks for joining us on "hardball." >> thank you. up next president obama visits a gm and a chrysler plant to talk about the turnaround of
the american auto industry. the auto bailout had plenty of critics at the time. it still does. did it the auto industry in this country? that's our debate next. you're watching hardball only on msnbc. [ male announcer ] he's sweet, even with 1/3 less sugar than soda. kool-aid delivering more smiles per gallon.
chased out of the republican party still running as a independent leading the field in the senate race marco rubio has 33. the numbers are pretty much the same if billionaire jeff greene became the democratic nominee. though greene looks a little bit stronger. 37, 32, 17. charlie crist gaining strength as we get closer to november. we'll see. can he keep holding the 20% of republicans that he still has?
let me tell you when i look out at this plant and i look out at all of you, it gives me hope. it confirms my conviction. don't bet against the american worker. don't bet against the american people. >> well, that was president obama at a general motors plant in michigan today handling the recent recovery of the auto industry and pushing the idea that the bailout of gm and chrysler was necessary and successful. critics still take issue with his decision to pour $60 billion into the car companies and question when the american taxpayers will get back their money. can p the president turn this into a positive story? douglas is the director of the congressional budget office and former senior adviser for john mccain. heather is a senior economist
for the center of american progress. douglas, let me start with you. the bailout. did it work. >> no. i don't think so. the basic claims keep shifts. they have to go through bankruptcy and shed lines and lose jobs. they went through bankruptcy anyway. now the american people own one auto company. if you look ad ford, which stayed out of this entirely, it's the most profitable. it's the car company with a bright future. it's very hard when the american people look out and say the government is doing too much to imagine this was either a good success on its merits or a good thing politically. >> heather, i want to read this to you. we may see this debate in the 2012 presidential campaign. . here's what mitt romney wrote in 2008.
was he, in your mind, proven wrong in this case, or did he have some points here in that not the auto industry isn't completely restructured itself enough? >> it's been about a year. we've seen a lot of change. we've seen jobs come back in the auto industry. so in that point he's completely o wrong. they were hemorrhaging jobs. now jobs are coming back. we know if we hadn't taken the stops, we would have sheen many more people lose their jobs than did. estimates are about a million people would have lost their jobs.
that's one key indicator of success. another ind cindicator is haul three are now profitable for the first time since 2004. you've always seen change. you've seen investment in new green technologies. you've seen investment along the supply chain, a lot of that spurred the investments of by the government in the sector. those all seem to be good outcomes so far. >> we have one more clip from biden today at the chrysler plant about those that he says oppose the bailout of the auto industry. let's listen. >> this plant and your jobs may not exist. they were leaders of the just say no crowd in washington. they were saying standing by the auto industry would guarantee failure. one of them called it the worst investment you could possibly make.
[booing ] >> they say we should walk away and let the jobs go. i wish they were standing here today. i don't think they would be willing to look you in the eye and say that you were a bad investment. they don't like admitting when i do the right thing. but they might have had to admit it. and i want all of you to know i will bet on the american worker any day of the week. >> now, doug, clearly the president making a political argument. but i want to read you another quote here. there was a pool -- or you know the traveling pool press with the president. one of them interviewed a gm plant worker. a guy named robert allen. 62, an electrician, 25 years at gm. he says i voted for john mccain. didn't like the bailouts. didn't like the health care bailouts. but he liked the auto bailout. he says sometimes the government needs to help out. but he says he can't wait for
the government to be out of the auto industry. i ask you this as an economist. was this sort of the right idea of a government bailout would work in this sense as opposed to the wall street bailouts which have become so politically toxic and unpopular? >> well, i think there are differences. this this bailout you got some discipline. in wall street, literally the management was never punished for its poor performance. stockholders were never forced to recognize the losses -- >> they got big bonuses, too. >> right. so that's literally indefensible. this one is important. i think, though, you have to recognize three things about the nature of this debate. the first is that the administration's defense is this is better than what would have happened. what would have happened is
aapocylpse. yeah, they may have gotten 65,000 jobs. there may have been some investments. there's nothing like a return that's serious in that kind of an argue. we threw a lot of money at this problem. the return remains to be seen. and the third point, which is important, is that we actually saw the experiment. the experiment was do we plow the money in or not? we didn't in ford. if you look at the best performing american car company, you look at the the one that has the brightest future, it's in ford, not the others. >> ford did get a $6 billion loan from the energy deeppartme to do some of their own. there's some ways that the companies are getting help. i want to go to the other point that doug made, heather. which is $60 billion, 55,000 jobs. not the greatest rate of return for government money per job. >> well, that's money that the government invested. they didn't give us money to create jobs. we make investments. owner ship in part of the company. it's money that hopefully we
will get back. but it was an investment of the future of this industry. i think that's the one thing that's a big difference between this and what happened on wall street. we need manufacturing here in the country. we need it for a variety of reasons. we need it for jobs today. we also need it for the jobs tomorrow. we need it for the jobs and the industry up and down the supply chain. it's important for the future, and the kinds of investments that this administration has been making and encouraging the private sector to make in fuel-efficient technologies in, sort of the cars of the future and all of the new energy-independent stuff. it's so important and so urgent. a lot of that is spurred by the investments we made in this sector. >> if we get a guy as familiar with the auto industry as mitt romney is, i feel a feeling we could have this debate in two year with the both of you douglas and heather, have a great friday. thank you for coming in. up next, what does snooki,
winston churchill and -- have in common? snooki has a beef with president obama. you probably have a good idea if you know who snooki is what that beef is. the sideshow is next. [ female announcer ] maxwell house gives you a rich, full-flavored cup of coffee, so you can be good to the last drop. [ dog barking ] [ sniffing ] [ male announcer ] missing something? like 2 pairs of glasses for $99.99 at sears optical. now includes bifocals at the same great price for a limited time. hurry in to sears optical today and don't miss a thing. you struggle to control your blood sugar. you exercise and eat right, but your blood sugar may still be high, and you need extra help. ask your doctor about onglyza, a once daily medicine used with diet and exercise to control high blood sugar in adults with type 2 diabetes. adding onglyza to your current oral medicine may help reduce after meal blood sugar spikes and may help reduce high morning blood sugar.
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back to "hardball." now to the sideshow. late night had plenty of material yesterday with the president's sitdown on "the view." >> so anyway, barack obama goes on "the view", and his critics are saying the guy is willing to confront radical extremists. well -- well. >> on "the view" obama said he won't be going to chelsea clinton's wedding on saturday because "you don't want two presidents at one wedding." hillary was like, yeah, we get it. you won. big deal.
>> it's telling that he goes to try on the shoulders of the sympathetic women of "the view." >> whatever happened to the majesty of the office? >> i think there's got to be a little bit of dignity to the presidency? >> by the way, did you idiots have any short-term memory at all? is this ringing a bell for you? >> were y'all spankers? did you thank them? >> not very often. >> not really. >> joy behar asked the president about snooki. president obama said he didn't know who she was. it's okay. snooki doesn't know who he is either. it works out okay. >> that was just on "the view." as you heard, snooki earned a mention in the president's interview yesterday. so it's fitting the president also got a shoutout last night on the season premier of "jersey shore." >> i don't go tanning tanning anymore because obama put a 10% tax on tanning. and i feel like he did that intentionally for us. mccain would never put a 10% tax
on tanning. because he's pale, and he would probably want to be tan. since taxes were raised on tanning -- >> obama doesn't have that problem. obviously. >> there you go. you can't make this stuff up. by the way, snooki was arrested today as she left the beach in seaside heights new jersey, and was charged with -- wait for it -- disorderly conduct. i know, shock. and proof that aren't above the law, a republican congressman from california was about to do an interview from his car when he was stopped by the police. take a listen. >> we are talking specifically this morning about the passage of the international megan's law. can you tell folks about it? >> can you hang up the phone, sir? >> i have to get off the phone just a moment here. can i call you pack in just a second? i'm sorry. i'm talking with a police officer here, sir. >> oh, yeah. >> so before we get started, you have to tell me what happened. >> well, i was driving here
probably just slightly over the speed limit. >> oh, were we? so, let me ask you this: were you written up a ticket? >> he's coming back to the car in a few minutes. we'll find out what's happening. >> congressman, can you hang up the phone? obviously he hung it up soon enough. his office says he got off with a warning. now time for the big number. winston churchhill's dentures, the ones that gave him the trademark list. they were up on the auction block yesterday. the winning bid for the momento billed as the teeth that saved the world. $23,723. interesting nugget. churchill valued his dentist so much, he nominated him nor knighthood. his choppers sold for over $23,000 at last night's auction. that's tonight's big number. wait for monday's sideshow. chris matthews is doing a little standup comedy tonight. i have a feeling if he dares it will be on monday's side show.
how is that for a weekend tease? are democrats closing the midterm gap? republicans have had all the momentum heading into denver. lately the democrats are picking up a little bit of steam. we'll get into that next. you're watching hardball only on msnbc. activia is better than ever! hey, you guys. want to try activia's great new taste? today is your tasty lucky day! sure, why not? isn't this the yogurt that, you know... helps regulate your digestive system. ooh, i think i'll pass. no, no, no! trust me. it is beyond tasty. okay! mmm! wow! i can't believe it, i love it!
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i'm julia boorstin with your cnbc market wrap. stocks finishing the session flat but racking up solid gains for the month of july. the dow jones industrial is down a point. the s&p 500 almost completely flat. and the nasdaq tacking on three points. all the major indices wrapping up their best month in a year with gains of around 7%. the day on wall street was like a snapshot of the month overall. solid earnings report jouf offsetting disappointing economic data. a weak reading on the gop drove stocks lower this morning.
growth slowed in the second quarter, expanding at a lower than expected 2.4%. consumer sentiment fell to the lowest level in two months. but chevron saw earnings triple last quarter boosted by improving margins at the refineries and giant merck beating expectations and delivering a forecast in line with predictions. that's it from cnbc first in business worldwide. now back to "hardball." welcome back to "hardball." are democrats really closing the gap in the midterm election? with us now "the new york times" jeff -- and the "washington post's" dan -- there seems to be a little evidence in national polling. a lot nor in state by state and district polling that republicans don't have a healthy
lead anymore in a lot of the swing districts or senate races, that the gaps close. what's going on here? is it just sort of summer vacation, odd ball polling? or are democrats coming home, or is smpg else going on? >> i think quite frankly we don't know the answer to that question yesterday. we need a little more information as the summer goes alo along within of the worst times to sample public opinion is in the summer mons. people aren't home. people aren't watching the news. with that said the argument that president obama and the democrats have been making that this is a choice election. it may be gaining some steam among democratic based voter who is are otherwise a little bit skeptical or not that plugged into what's going on. if democrats are sure happy to take this good news because they haven't had any for a little while. but we'll see it what it really means. >> dan, i want to point out, i'm not always a big fan of the gallup daily track. live by the gallup daily track.
die by the gallup daily track. for the third week in a row democrats have led. there's still a gigantic gap in enthusiasm. republicans lead on the enthusiasm gap 46 to 28 in this thing. so what do you think explains this disparity? is this like a lot of democrats not excited? a little upset? but they're going to vote democrat at the end of the day? that's what they're telling pollsters, but they're just not happy about it? >> well, i agree with jeff. i don't think we know the answer to that. that's part of the strategy and hope for the white house is. what is interesting when you look at the gallup numbers that while the generic number has moved towards the democrats, the enthusiasm gap has not moved noticeably, and it's still quite significant on behalf of the republicans. if you talk to republican pollsters they will tell you if you look at who are the likely
voters the generic ballot test looks better for the republicans. they think that's likely to hold. they are making the argument that it's a choice designed to energize their base. we don't know if that will happen. >> i've heard this theory. they've gotten some of these democratic independents and some, you know, higher educated democratic voters or quote/unquote out of the undecided column. but the the folks still sitting in undecided and having a very negative opinion about president obama but were democratic before are senior and blue-collar white voters. those numbers vntd moved at all in any favorable direction towards the democrats. >> you're absolutely right. that is one of the most worrisome signs for house and senate democratic candidates. there has not been any movement at all. even with the signing of the health care legislation, wall street reform. those numbers have been sort of
flat. i think the white house and democrats by and large are largely writing off these blue-collar democratic voters, at least in the midterms. they think they can get them back in 2012. that's a separate matter. they're really focusing on independent women, and, you know, and perhaps some seniors as well. some new health care developments will happen this summer in terms of closing the doughnut hole and getting the check. that's possible. but, you know, in terms of getting back the blue-collared democrats. it's hard to see how a lot that is going to happen in the next three months. >> that's interesting. take a listen to president obama on "the view" which may have been targeted at one demographic group. but listen to what the president said that may be targeted at another. >> the one thing i want to just tell everybody here in this audience, don't bet against american workers. don't bet against american engeneral youty. we still have the best workers in the world. the best technology in the world. the best universities in the world. if we get our mojo back over the
next several months, then i am absolutely confident that we are going to be doing terrific, but we're going to have to make some fundamental structural changes as we go along. >> this made in america pitch. the president said it twice today at both plants. you heard it yesterday. dan, you've probably heard the same senior white house officials say the same phrase to you as they've said to me. that think they think this can be a way into the blue-collar economically distressed white voter who is are right now unhappy. >> well, the rhetoric may be somewhat helpful, chuck, but you know as well as anybody that what really will count are the numbers. and the gdp number that came out today was not particularly good. it was not as good as the white house had hoped. and some forecasters had expected. the unemployment rate is still, you know, very high. still close to double digits.
those are the key things. in some ways the president is using this kind of rhetoric to buy some time in the hope that by the time we get to october those numbers begin to move in a way that people will say yes, i guess things are getting better. but right now people don't have the confidence that that's the case. >> jeff, i want to ask you this made in america rhetoric. two places. chrysler and the gm plant. used it yesterday. and again, is this something that may have focused well? it seems to be a phrase they have inserted into speeches a lot lately? >> it definitely does. i hadn't heard the president saying that much all yearlong. you know, not through the auto bailout situation. it could be a focus group situation. as you know, this white house, this democratic national committee is pulling and focus grouping constantly. they are looking for, you know, ways they can win people over. but i think dan is right. it's more slogan than actual reality here.
and these numbers have to change. and frankly time is sort of running out for the environment to change that much. early voting is going to begin in like, you know, five weeks, six weeks in some places. i think the environment we have right now is geling if not geled entirely. >> excellent point. as charlie cook likes to i, the cake may be baked. thank you for making a segment only with folks whose last names have "z" in it. what else would be better than that? plus the fact that you're at two great newspapers. thank you both. >> thanks, chuck. up next. more than 6,000 graves at arlington national cemetery could be mismarked and senator claire mccaskill says it's because cemetery managers didn't do their jobs properly. she'll talk to us about that and what else is going on. be a volunteer firefighter. when i grow up, i want to write a novel. i want to go on a road trip. when i grow up, i'm going to go there.
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welcome back to hardball. things got seated during a senate sub committee hearing on the dysfunctional management of arlington national cemetery. up to 6,000 soldier graves may have been mislabeled. let's listen to chairwoman senator mccaskill of missouri questioning john metzler. >> do you honestly believe if you came to congress and said we have a crisis. we need resources and manpower because we're afraid we've lost bodies of our heros. this is not complicated. it's called keeping track of who you bury where. >> joining us now, senator mccaskill. so, senator, i have to ask you, are you convinced this problem is only at arlington cemetery? there are national cemeterying all around this country. are you now feeling like you need to look into the management at pretty much all the national
cemeteries in this country? >> no, the big difference is all the the cemeteries are run by veterans affairs. and they have a very strong system in place, i.t. system in place that digitally keeps track of all of the burials. and you can even go online and find where people are buried in the system. and their system is much larger than arlington. had arlington adopted their technology ten years ago, instead of being stubborn and saying no, we want our own. i mean, this is just a classic case of bureaucracy gone bad, we wouldn't be having this problem today. >> you know, you must hear from, and i always use an example sometimes i'll say joe and jane from kansas city. but you're from kansas city. you're from the area. i'm sure a constituent will come up to you and say the government can't even handle this. why should we have faith in the government handling health care or the government bailouts?
this is where the cynicism grows? does it not? >> that doesn't mean we have an obligation to see government? my job is to look at contracting. there a lot of problems with contracting. the bush administration wanted to convince everyone they shrunk government. they did. they shrunk the acquisition force and then blew up contracting by many multiples. and we have contracting problems everywhere. and this is the army that made this mistake. and i don't think any american thinks that our army does a bad job. so this is an isolated incident within the army of a very bad example of management and bureaucracy gone badly. >> you brought up the army. it's not been a good week for the army. there was this report about the high rate of suicides within the army. attempted suicides within the army. how much of a concern -- i mean this was a report den by the army. part of it has to do with the war. they said the war is not an
excuse here. there is really bad management in how recruiting is done and how the management of officers is done. >> and the other thing that are report said, chuck, and this is something that i've been working on since i joined the armed services committee. there's a real problem with substance abuse. we have deployed multiple times, and these guys have been in very stressful situations. many of them have had painful injuries and been prescribed drugs. many of them may be overindulging in alcohol. we have not given them a safe place to get help. usually when someone is over medicating like that with alcohol or drugs it's because they're having -- and it's a bad culture to say i need help. so we've started pilot programs where they're not going to get reported to their commander if they get help. and i will tell you, the military gets that they've got a real problem here. we've had a record number of suicides in missouri here in the national guard. so we're looking at maybe embedding mental counselors
here stateside within the national guard units, someone they can talk to besides the chaplain when feeling emotional stress. >> do you think there needs to be change in the recruitment standards, maybe they -- frankly, stwrarnds lowered a little bit and maybe some folks were accepted into the army normally won't have been accepted but because they needed the troops, they accepted folks that maybe had a criminal background that maybe was a little -- shouldn't have been forgiven. >> i'm not sure how much that relates to our suicide problem, but i do think mental health information at the get-go is important because frankly, one of the problems we've seen sometimes soldiers have been pushed out of benefits because they've said, well, you had a problem before you came. in reality, the problem may have developed while they've been deployed or part of the active service. i think these meant it will health screenings, we're now making them do face to face screenings instead of just checking boxes.
this is something we have to work on, an incredibly important resource to our country and the vast majority of people are doing wonderful work on behalf of our freedom. we've got to make sure we're not just giving them good physical health care benefits but also good mental health care benefits. >> senator mccas kishlgs thanks for tackling some of these tough. >> i got to go watch the cardinals beat the pirates tonight, chuck. i'm in a hurry. >> yeah, i hear you. get to that game. be safe getting there. thanks very much. >> all right, i will. thank you. up next, two wedge issues the republicans may try to use against the democrats this november. illegal immigration and charlie rangel. how strong a strategy are these two issues for the republicans, and can they use it to beat a few more democrats? this is "hardball" only on msnbc. just one drop instantly soothes and revives tired, overworked eyes. and comforts them for up to ten hours.
we are back. what do charlie rangel's ethics charges and arizona's litigation mean for republicans in november? can they use these stories to take over congress, use them as wedge issues? we'll continue with our conversation with reporters that have the letter z" in their name. liz zi dotty from the associated press and chris zas lis za, two zs, the managing editor. >> finally those two zs paid off. >> post politics.com. chris, you're on remote.
i'll start with you. this idea of -- let me ask you this. october 15th in 45 house races, how many of them are going to be talking about ethics and rangel and immigration? >> i would say more ethics and rangel, depending on what happens. look, if he cuts a deal sometime soon, maybe it goes away. the august recess is long this year, almost seven weeks. maybe it goes away. i think immigration more now. california in the primary in june, a lot of talk about it, meg whitman winning the republican gubernatorial race largely because she decided to focus on immigration. arizona, john mccain, his now kind of famous/infamous complete damaged fence ad, talking about immigration being challenged from the right. i think it's potent in a republican primary and for base republican voters. in a general election, the ethics issue is more potent because nancy pelosi said we're
going to drant swain the swamp. >> immigration he says no. are you seeing it in general election ads that you think it will pop up in october? >> not so much. what we forget here is the core issue right now is the economy. it's going to continue to be the economy heading into the fall. immigration played a role in republican primaries and ethics played a role in 2006 and 2008 because democrats were going to clean up. what we're forgetting here is neither party wants to touch immigration because it's such a complex issue. this is something neither one of them want to deal with. on the ethics issue both parties are flawed and have ethical issues. why would you talk about that when you're just as flawed when voters want to talk about the economy. they've made that clear. >> go ahead, chris. >> the one thing, it's possible that republicans talk about it in direct mail and phone calls
to supporters as opposed to television ads because it's a potential base motivator. their base cares deeply about this issue. i don't think do you it in tv ads that are more scatter shot and reach people that may be turned off by it. >> this just popped over the wire but senator ben nelson, democrat, is going to vote against elena kagan, and he cites her lack of a judicial record. chris, are you going to be writing this about 2012 and nothing but 2012? >> your cynicism, yes, that's exactly what it's about. look, ben nelson is in an extremely republican state. he won extremely narrowly in 2006. he's going to be a huge target next time and he understands a vote for what most people in nebraska think is a too liberal president, too liberal judicial pick could be an issue that beats him. he's moving to the middle. he's already there on lots of things. yes. >> caller: think it is about 2012. >> we're seeing much fewer
republicans, about half the number of republicans that voted for sotomayor have said they're not going to vote for kagan. it seems some of them are nervous about saying they voted for both of the president's supreme court. >> of course, because republicans are looking and saying their whole argument right now is obama's policies are making this country worse. so voting in lock step with the president undercuts that argument. >> and chris, moving on quickly, bring back something we brought up earlier. this made in america line that again, we're seeing a lot more out of the white house at least this week. is this something you think they're testing or they're going to move forward with it and spend a lot of time on it. >> again, i don't want to sound too cynical. anytime you hear a line coming out of the white house regularly, they're testing it to see what works. for months, we've been hearing focus on the economy, get people to understand the stimulus is working. this is part and parcel that